Britannia plans to import sugar

Kolkata, Aug 31 ( Biscuit and dairy product major Britannia Industries is planning to import sugar, both raw and refined, on account of the scarcity in the domestic market, a top company official said here Monday.

“We will import sugar this year. This is the first time we are doing so. We have been allowed to keep an inventory of 15 days,” Britannia chairman Nusli N. Wadia told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting (AGM).

Added managing director Vinita Bali: “There is a shortage and a scramble for sugar in the domestic market, so we need to secure our supplies from domestic as well and as overseas markets.”

However, they declined to say how much sugar would be imported and when.

Regarding the price rise of biscuits, Bali said: “In the past six months, we have raised prices by 5-12 percent depending on brands.”

Without specifying how much hike could be expected in the future, she said, “We are raising price all the time according to the need and will continue to adjust prices.”

Bali said prices of skimmed milk have gone up 35 percent, which has also impacted margins, adding: “Given the drought situation, we expect milk yield to go down during the year.”

At the same time, she said the company’s dairy business would be its “growth vector”.

“In the coming days, you will see several new launches and they would be differentiated dairy business.”

Talking on Britannia’s plans on inorganic growth, Bali said it was open to acquiring the “right brand at right value” at the right time.

The company’s profit after tax in 2008-09 fiscal was Rs.180.4 crore.